Patience Jonathan Ex-First Lady dares EFCC to provide proof she stole N17 billion

Mrs. Jonathan warned the EFCC to stop making baseless claims and conduct proper investigations.

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Patience Jonathan, wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan. play

Patience Jonathan, wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

(AFP/File)
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Former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, has dared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to provide concrete evidence that she has laundered a total sum of N17 billion as the anti-graft agency has claimed.

This was contained in a response to fresh claims by the agency that another N2.1 billion has been linked to the former First Lady through a company incorporated by her deceased mother, Mama Charity Oba.

In a press statement signed by her Chief Press Secretary, Belema Meshack-Hart, on Thursday, October 12, 2017, she reiterated her stance that the agency is simply trying to tarnish her public image because it has no reasonable evidence to prosecute her.

She argued that many of the agency's claims are falsehoods that are easily debunked, and that their refusal to answer summons from the House of Representatives is proof that they have no available evidence.

The statement also defended the former First Lady's charity work, most notably with Aruera Reachout Foundation which has benefited more than 700 children with heart disease to the tune of billions of naira.

Mrs. Jonathan warned the anti-graft agency to desist from making baseless claims and conduct proper investigations before making reckless accusations.

The statement read, "We wish to state categorically that, the allegations are false and a grand design by EFCC to tarnish the image of the former first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan.

"In their concocted report they claimed that the former first lady is a sole signatory of Magel Resort Limited, a Hotel owned by her late mum Mama Charity Oba.

"This is untrue as the former first lady had no dealings with the Hotel until the demise of her late mum after which the Hotel was handed over to her with the presentation of the death certificate of her mum. The late mother of the former first lady should be allowed to rest in peace.

"It was also alleged that N200m IT contract was awarded to Magel Resort Limited, this is a figment of the imagination of EFCC as no such contract was awarded to the company.

"EFCC must stop this media trial and blackmail aimed at tarnishing the image of the former first Lady and get down to the business of conducting proper investigations.

"Magel Resort Limited is a very successful company with over 2,000 staff, this is as a result of the hard work and relentless man hours put into it by the late mum of the former first lady who built the company from scratch.

"It is preposterous to say the least that N2.1bn in its coffers as alleged by EFCC was fraudulently acquired.

"The EFCC also alleges that N17billion has been traced to the former first lady, we believe this joke by the EFCC has been taken too far, as there is no available evidence to support this baseless claim.

"To prove her innocence the former first lady has filed N2bn fundamental human rights suit against the EFCC at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

"For avoidance of doubt Mrs Patience Jonathan does not have $12,831,173 domiciled in Diamond bank as alleged by EFCC. Anyone with proof should provide evidence and take advantage of the whistle blower policy.

"The issue of Skye Bank is in court and we believe in the integrity of the court to handle this case judiciously.

"The former first lady has never had any dealing with Bureau de Change operators and anyone with counter claims should come out with proof.

"The A. Aruera Reachout Foundation is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation established in 2006 by Dame Patience Faka Jonathan, the Former First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"The Foundation has a medical unit which sponsors the treatment and surgery of children and some adults with heart conditions.

"To date, over 700 children have benefited from the A. Aruera Reachout Foundation, this alone cost the foundation billions, it is not news that the logistics involved in the treatment of heart disease cost over N5million per child. This demonstrates the caring and maternal nature of Nigeria's Former First Lady.

"Aruera Reachout Foundation has never been involved in financial crimes or money laundry of any form. All the directors of the NGO are men and women of integrity, highly competent and astute professionals. It is therefore untrue that the former first lady had her domestic servants as directors of the NGO.

"We understand that the EFCC is desperate to distract Nigerians from the current massive corruption bedevilling the nation, and as such has embarked on propaganda using the name of the former first Lady. This is callous and must stop.

"If the EFCC has such evidence they should present it to the Senate and House of representatives.

"One wonders why the EFCC has repeatedly refused to honour the invitation of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to state their case."

ALSO READ: Patience Jonathan sues EFCC for N2B damages and compensation

In June, Mrs. Jonathan filed for general damages against the EFCC, seeking compensation in the sum of N2 billion for what she tells the court is due to the trauma of being subjected to incessant harassments by the agency through negative media publications.

She said her rights and good public image had been violated under Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as a result of the respondent's actions.

She also wrote a petition to the House of Representatives, urging lawmakers to call the EFCC to order for the unfair harassment that she believes is politically-motivated by the current administration.

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